History of Breast Implants

Breast augmentation is not a new idea. Fortunately there have been a lot of improvements on breast implants over the years. The following is a brief history of breast implants in the U.S.

1890’s – Breast augmentation with paraffin wax injections resulting in lumps and common infections.

1940’s – Silicone liquid injections resulting in lumps and infections

1962 – First breast augmentation performed with a silicone implant (1st generation implant- Dow Corning)

1965 – First saline breast augmentation

1970’s – Second generation silicone implants developed with a thinner shell and low-cohesion silicone filler. Prone to rupture and “gel bleed” through the intact implant shell. Gel bleed led to a high incidence of capsular contracture.

Late 1970’s – Class action lawsuit against Dow-Corning.

1970’s to 1980’s – Textured implants developed

1980’s – Third and fourth generation silicone implants with improved shells and thicker filler. Decreased risk of rupture and gel bleed.

1990’s – Fifth generation silicone implants, until recently not available in the U.S. Increased cohesiveness of the silicone fill material. Decreased risk of implant bleed. The fill material is firmer but can allow for implants to be shaped.

1992 – FDA moratorium restricting use of silicone gel implants based on concerns of safety of these implants. At the time this was the prudent reaction to unknown aspects of silicone implants. Many of these concerns were disproven with additional studies leading to re-approval 14 years later.

1992-2006 – Saline breast implants were the only types of implants available for breast augmentation aside from core studies

2006 – FDA re-approves silicone breast implants

2012 – FDA approval of Sientra gel filled implants. These are the first form stable, fifth generation implants approved in the U.S.

2013 – Approval of Mentor and Allergan form stable implants.

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